Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Unasked for Advice to high school students during March Madness

I just returned from Kairos, a four-day retreat for seniors at St. Ignatius College Prep where I teach. Perhaps you have been on one yourself, or know someone who has. Many other high schools and colleges, Jesuit and not bring students into "God's time." Anyone who has been a part of the retreat experience will tell you the same thing: it's transformative. You go deep. It's heavy. You are tasked with really listening to your heart, to one another and to God. I also think, in addition to Immersion—a two week program committed to service and accompaniment with those on the margins—that Kairos is the most important thing we do at SI. Others agree.

While on retreat, I received a note from my colleague who is our Director of Communications. He is also a teacher, moderator of the Green team, husband, father and what I believe might be his personal favorite: a poet. This letter included a poem, "Unasked for Advice to my Children" that he shared with me hoping that it might inspire something as I finish the semester with seniors...and that it would bring my thoughts to prayer. Poetry has a way of doing that. It certainly did.
Killed me that during Kairos, we weren't able to watch the Irish defeat the Shockers. Small sacrifices... ;-)
And, his words reminded me of a few thoughts I have collected here and there in the midst of March Madness. I'm not a poet...I'm a blogger, but in that same spirit, here is my "Unasked for Advice to high school students during the tourney."

  • Living on the west coast, there isn't a class period in the day when those games in the first round aren't underway. The tech office decided not to block access to the websites that show the games; the battle was futile. Furthermore, enough students have a free period during the day, as well and recess and lunch when they can and should watch the games!
    • So dear students, when you walk into class, please continue to ask your teacher if you can watch the game (in the communal sense...not privately on your iPad or phone). The answer will still be the same—NO—unless you are in Sports and Spirituality where its a given.
  • Students you ought to know that teachers, like parents, see and hear more than we ever let on. Every year, I see a number of you who refuse to hide your bracket. You study it during those first two rounds as if you will be tested on it later in class. You won't. Nor will there be a pop quiz—ever. Please put it away...or I will confiscate it. Nevertheless, be prepared to get it back at the end of class and talk to me all about it. I can't wait to do so.
  • In the Religious Studies department, we begin every class with prayer. Students sign up to lead us in prayer and they are the first to offer petitionary prayer. Every year, some student decides it's the time to pray for their basketball team. It's a little awkward and inappropriate, and by junior year, you know why. But, every year, one offers that intention anyway. 
    • Just a warning: this is what you can expect. When you do, all eyes fall on me, awaiting my reaction. We will still offer your prayer and after, I must"pick up the pieces" either publicly or privately. I want you to be honest in prayer. I want you to love something so much that you can't help but bring it to petitionary prayer, but Sports and Spirituality is about much more than winning and losing. 
      • That being said, Coach Lou Holtz, former head football coach at the University of Notre Dame once said, "I don't think God cares who wins...but His mother does."
  • Lastly, thank you for the enthusiasm you bring to our school community. Thanks for seeking to derail the first five minutes of class by talking about this year's men's basketball team from ND. And that sophomore guard Steve Vasturia went to another Jesuit school, St Joe's Prep in Philly, a place the Camden service trip I co-lead visits every summer. Yes, I'm all too willing to spend a lot of class time on this, as long as you're willing to mention the Irish women too. 
Kairos only confirmed what I already know about many of my students and the young people who fill the halls of St. Ignatius: they are the result of God's friendship (with us). Maybe the tourney is too...

Photo Credits

No comments:

Post a Comment